It was the scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck who first named Cannabis Indica in 1785. That year he published a description of the plant, which was the second known species of Cannabis in the West. Lamarck described this new species after observing specimens of the plant which had been collected in India, and these plants apparently originated in the region of the Hindu Kush mountain range.

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The Hindu Kush region is home to fairly harsh growing conditions and extreme hot and cold temperatures. These factors probably influenced the morphology or shape and appearance of the Indica plants. The Indica plants did not grow as tall as their Sativa cousins due to harsher conditions, and their leaves stayed broader and more densely packed to protect them and the plant.

These traits were confirmed as scientists began to compare the strains. Scientist Richard Evans Schultes described Cannabis Indica as densely branched, conical, and relatively short, compared with Cannabis Sativa which was laxly branched and tall. Similarly, Loran C. Anderson described the leaflets of the Cannabis Indica plants as broad and short, whereas Sativa leaflets were narrow and long.

Cannabis Indica plants in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are traditionally bred and cultivated to produce charas, a resin like substance. Although charas is like “hash” in many respects, hash is made from dead Cannabis plants, whereas live plants are used to make charas. Charas has traditionally been used for its psychoactive properties in the Hindu religion for thousands of years.

The pharmacology of Cannabis Indica shows a higher cannabinoid content than found in Sativa strains. Typically the practical result of this difference is more of a deep stone feeling and less of a mental high. This famous Indica “body stone” or “body buzz” is one of its most sought after features. This is the source of the relief of severe pain, insomnia, nausea, muscle spasms, and related problems that Indica strains provide.

Modern Indica plants remain short, usually growing under six feet. The plants have deep green leaves that are shorter and fatter. Although Indicas came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, they are now grown all over the world. High-quality Indica strains produce relaxed feelings and happiness. Very strong varieties may numb you and induce sleep.